December eButterflyer of the month: YOU!

eButterfliers reported almost 30,000 butterfly observations   in 2014 from across the United States and Canada.To celebrate the completion of our 3rd eButterfly year, we wanted to take the time to thank all of our eButterflyers. Your contributions made 2014 our best so far. eButterfly is growing by leaps and bounds. Here are a few amazing statistics that are a testament to the power of citizen scientists when we come together and join forces to improve our knowledge of our amazing butterfly fauna. Together we have shared more than 30,000 checklists from over 13,000 differents locations across Canada and the United States. For the third consecutive year we doubled our total number of observations. There are over 106,000 observations accounting for more than 600 butterfly species. We’ve spent more than 15,000 hours surveying butterflies and shared nearly 34,000 photos of 528 butterfly species.

Along with helping your fellow eButterflyers adding the next species to their life list or preparing for butterfly outings in their region or far away while on vacation in uncharted territory, all this wealth of information is already being used in scientific research and conservation projects. Over 30,000 eButterfly observations were used to build range models for the recent ROM Field Guide to the Butterflies of Ontario. We’re expanding this to build dynamic range maps of all species across the United States and Canada. These maps will be displayed on the eButterfly Explore Data section. eButterfly observations consolidated with other butterfly observations are being used to assess rates of northern range expansions of several butterfly species. eButterfly is also being used from grade school to university classrooms to illustrate how acting locally can permit continental scale research and conservation.

Team eButterfly is always listening to your feedback and suggestions. We are constantly working to improve your eButterfly experience to make sure you get the tools you need, while at the same time helping science and conservation. We’ll be rolling out some fixes for nearly 100 minor programming bugs, updates and new features in early 2015. We are extremely excited to announce that we will be launching, thanks to David Belle and the Birdlog team, a mobile eButterfly app in the spring of 2015. We will also be uploading over 200,000 historical butterfly observations from museums specimens, state and provincial atlases and private databases and collections.

2015 will also be the year where will look to finally hire our amazing programming wizard Sambo Zhang on a full time basis in order to allow eButterfly to keep growing steadily and provide you, our amazing users, with the best service possible. Without him and his night and day dedication to our collective vision, eButterfly would be nowhere near the platform it has become since we first started working on it in 2010.

Along with thanking you for all your amazing contributions, we wish you all the best in 2015 and may it bring many ‘lifers’ and amazing butterfly moments. Why not start 2015 to dust off some old butterfly notebooks and photos and share them on eButterfly!

Happy New Year from Team eButterfly!